It has taken me some time and I wanted to have serious driving under the odometer before reporting on the new Mustang's performance. If you look back at my first day's report many of the things I said remain true and I've discovered some aspects that I want to definitely revise. That's the great thing about blogs.
You can?t talk about this Mustang without first tackling the straight-ahead, tire-burning speed. Many sources have quoted 0-60 times at 5.1 seconds. I have no reason to doubt it. First gear has the slightest hesitation but you can quickly get to a rip-roaring second that will catapult you forward at a healthy clip. I believe first gear is set up more for everyday use than racing and because of how healthy the acceleration still is, I?m happy with the trade-off in the ease of use in traffic.
Shifting is simply a joy. The Mustang?s short throw shifter is so smooth and easy to use it makes even me appear to be a pro. I?ve been driving a stick shift almost everyday for ten years and still have problems in certain high performance test cars. I haven?t had one issue this week and the clutch is already familiar enough to not be an issue. If anyone opts for the automatic I?d worry for their sanity.
But pure speed isn?t what wins applause in the Mustang. The handling is superb and the car solid in the twisties. I took the test car through the most corkscrew of local roads at relatively safe speeds and was amazed at how well the car tracked. The back end briefly twitched during one serious turn but otherwise stayed planted. This was a route that proved the RX-8 such a nimble handler and the Mustang held up as well. I wouldn?t call it nimble, but responsive and precise are words that come to mind.
There are two points from Day 1 I want to revise. The car does suffer from some noticeable road noise on the highway depending on the surface. On concrete freeways it was pretty loud but wind noise didn?t seem to be a problem at any speed. Smooth roads were pleasing to say the least. Also the bumps do become noticeable as the weekend took us to some really horrible roads. This is a problem more in the north and Midwest of course and southerners and west coasters can toss it out the window as a concern. My reasonably bumpy daily commute route is not bad at all.
There?s been talk about what other vehicles to compare the new Mustang to and I?m sure every magazine will try to come up with some in a few months to sell more issues. But from one muscle car to another I think the Mustang is a better package than the Pontiac GTO. Even with a lot less power it is still mighty fast and much more civilized. The shifting alone is worlds apart and would sell me on the Mustang. Don?t let the price fool you, fully loaded the GT comes close to a GTO. However, our test vehicle has everything I?d want and the sticker reads $27,200.